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Artificial What?

Why I keep wondering whether artificial intelligence is an oxymoron

Lost In Space caused many of us to fall in love with the concept of AI

Artificial intelligence is happening all around us, yet I often muse that the term is an oxymoron and perhaps you have to be a moron to believe the term. How can something that is by definition artificial truly be intelligent? Well, I suppose it all comes down to how you choose to define “intelligence.” You might have a very high standard for the definition while another person might have a very low standard while others are happy somewhere in the middle. This is important because exactly how you choose to set that standard drives how this so-called AI is crafted, evaluated, and used.

My problem with AI is that fundamentally AI is driven by code. Code of course refers to the particular programming language and precisely how it is constructed to handle the required tasks. And of course code by fundamental definition is rigidly deterministic.

2 + 2 = 4

A creates B which creates C which yields D.

Using these bits of code and assembling them into massively complex hierarchies eventually creates computer behaviors that appear to replicate human behaviors. When that occurs we are quick to declare the marvelous manifestation of AI.

My problem however is that the human always sees the bigger picture. It is the bigger picture that is not limited to the code. Therefore it is the human perspective that is intrinsically superior to AI.

Because this is true, computer scientists are ever pursuing increasingly complex coding to strive unceasingly to replicate that vital, unique, true human perspective. The problem remains that although this is scientifically (and yes, practically) a noble pursuit, it remains a modern version of a Zeno’s paradox; although you come increasingly close to the destination, it is a destination never reached. (Yes, I understand we have “solutions” to Zeno’s paradox. Nevertheless, the image of Zeno’s paradox is what illustrates our challenge.)

So the ultimate destination is that we so completely code to replicate so perfectly the human thought process that someday we manifest an AI that convinces us it is human, thereby passing the Turing test. Well, I’m still waiting, and I have a feeling I will be waiting a very long time. And while computers might be infinitely patient, I am not.

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